Circuit

Blog archive

Transparency can't shine without context

"Transparency! Transparency! Transparency!" is the chant of the federal government these days. But there’s another term that is just as important.

The word is context, according to Danny Harris, CIO of the Education Department.

“Are we doing a good enough job explaining the data to the public,” he told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform Subcommittee at a hearing today. The subcommittee was looking at the poor government data quality in federal databases open to the public.

The government has numerous public websites with all sorts of information and datasets on them to become more open and accountable to the taxpayer. It’s working, as it opens the government. However, most of the public doesn’t understand the datasets and the information posted on sites such as USASpending.gov and Data.gov and other department-based websites.

When average people look at one government website with data and then goes to a different federal website to search for similar data, they expect to see the same numbers. If the numbers are different, then there appears to be a problem with agencies’ information, Harris said.

But different websites host different types of data. One may include a unique mixture of numbers that aren't required in another database.

Still, to people who aren’t given context it seems there’s a problem, Harris said.

That’s why it’s tough to make all the datasets and websites appear clean and reliable to the average person.

In a complex world of government data numbers and datasets and data figures and data standards, context along with open data may provide something as important as transparency.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group